Haines seeks seat on Leesburg Town Council

With less than a week to go before a Republican caucus, a longtime local attorney has entered the race for Leesburg Town Council.

Tyler Haines, an attorney and architect, has filed his intention to seek the at-large seat on the town council.

As of Tuesday afternoon, he was the only candidate to file.

Haines is a well-known figure in the community through his work and his association with Stacey’s restaurant in Leesburg. His family has operated the eatery for more than 40 years.

His law office is just down the road from the restaurant and he’s lived within town limits for the past six years, he said.

Haines said he’s thought about running for town council in the past, but didn’t make a move out of respect for existing incumbents.

But the resignation of Larry Richey changed the situation and opened the door for consideration.

Richey resigned Jan. 9.

The GOP caucus is set or 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Plain Township Fire Station.

“I feel like I can help the town out,” Haines said.

Haines, 56, pointed to three issues he’d like to focus on if elected.

First, he would like to focus on promoting more business in Leesburg.

Haines wants to see a boost in retail opportunities in the downtown. He said he knows that’s a challenge with online shopping, but sees other towns overcoming the same hurdles.

“I look at some of the things Winona Lake has done and Warsaw is especially bringing retail back to town. We’re going to have to figure out what kind of profitable activities we can get to create some specialty stores.”

Secondly, he thinks traffic through Leesburg on Ind. 15 is becoming an issue.

“I’m also concerned with the speed of traffic on (Ind.) 15,” Haines said, suggesting the possibility of adding a traffic signal somewhere to make it easier for intersecting westbound traffic to turn left.

Such an effort would involve the Indiana Department of Transportation, which has authority over the highway.

Another issue is the need to make the town hall handicapped accessible. He said he thinks his background in architecture can help.

Stairs lead up to the main entrance, but the steep climb probably means a ramp is not a viable option, he said.

“It’s definitely something that’s gonna have to be done,” he said.

Haines has been a state delegate in the past and plans to serve in that capacity again.

He previously was a candidate for superior court judge.

Anyone interested in filing to run should contact Kosciusko County Republican Chairman Mike Ragan by 7 p.m. Saturday.